NOSTALGIA BLUES: Ipswich Town take big step towards Division One title with win at Arsenal
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town took another giant step towards securing their first-ever Division One title with an impressive 3-0 victory over Arsenal, at Highbury.
Town manager Alf Ramsey described the performance as “a top rate display”, the Blues never looking in danger of not coming away with the victory.
The result left Ipswich two points ahead of second-placed Burnley, Town having just one game left to play and the Clarets, two, at home to relegated Chelsea and away at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day.
All Town could do was win their final game of the season, at home to Aston Villa, and await the east Lancashire side’s result. The game against Villa would not be a foregone conclusion though as the Birmingham side had plundered 13 goals in their last two matches.
Ray Crawford was the stand-out man in a team of heroes in north London, the former Portsmouth man scoring in the 17th and 80th minute, goals that followed Ted Phillips’ opener after just 14 minutes.
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Ipswich were undefeated over the holiday period, ahead of this Easter Monday clash – that run including a 2-2 home draw with the Gunners just three days earlier – and played their part in an end-to-end opening to the game, Blues’ goalkeeper Roy Bailey acrobatically tipping a dipping centre from John McLeod over the bar.
Arsenal pressed for the first goal and after Arfon Griffiths shot weakly at Bailey, Geoff Strong then blasted high and wide after breaking clear from Andy Nelson.
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Danny Clapton then tore round John Compton and John Elsworthy before crossing, only to see Griffiths prod the ball easily into Bailey’s hands.
The Blues scored something against the run of play in the 14th minute, Phillips heading the ball home powerfully from Roy Stephenson’s high, driven centre.
Three minutes later and the visitors had doubled their lead. Stephenson sent a low ball towards the far post, Phillips played a clever dummy and Crawford beat goalkeeper Jack Kelsey from a narrow angle.
The atmosphere was electric and Bailey had to be alert to foil Clapton, who then drifted from the game as Compton’s first-time tackling got the better of him.
Doug Moran was the next player to go close for Ipswich, the Scot’s effort being cleared off the line by Billy McCullough.
Five minutes later, Ipswich escaped a scare when George Eastham had the ball in the Town net but both Strong and Griffiths were in offside positions.
Moran and Crawford went close for the visitors in the second half, before the latter scored with 10 minutes left, the in-form striker beating John Petts and McCullough, then flicking the ball through Terry Neill’s legs.
He then finished with aplomb past Kelsey to score his best goal of the season.